Partners for the Road Program
The data shows that at-risk young adults drop out of the educational system at higher rates than their peers. The Partners for the Road program aims to help them stay the course towards a normative and productive life, by emphasizing occupational/employment guidance and placement.
Thousands of young adults in Israel lack a family support network. Young people from dysfunctional or unsupportive (emotionally or financially) families, or those who have been placed in out-of-home care (state boarding schools or foster care) reach the age of 18 and exit these settings and their schools, and find themselves on the outside of the education and welfare systems. In the absence of assistance and support, these young adults face difficult odds in trying to achieve their potential and break out of the cycle of poverty in Israel.
Officials in the education and welfare systems estimate that 10-15% of those who are in the 17-25 age group in Israel, or around 900,000 young adults, are coping with difficulties in transitioning into adulthood. According to the Ministry of Economy, about 50,000 of them are at a high level of risk, and foremost are those who are lacking a family support network – new immigrants, graduates of out-of-home care placements, and youth with special needs. This state of affairs is a direct result of the structural changes to the socioeconomic conditions in Israel in recent decades.
As they graduate from high school, these young adults begin their independent life, but have no home base or basic support mechanisms to help them fulfill their potential. Many of them possess the motivation and potential to integrate into society and succeed, but for most, this transition is extremely difficult. They face two concurrent challenges: processing the separation from their school/placement at the same time as adjusting to new circumstances. Some are dealing with additional challenges, including economic difficulties, unstable relationships with their parents, and social isolation. The result is a perpetuation of the cycle of poverty and impoverishment, and a continuing reliance on state welfare and assistance programs.
Lamerhav, the Israel Anti-Drug & Alcohol Authority, and the City of Be’er Sheva have launched a joint initiative for a unique, long-term program in Be’er Sheva. The program is designed to provide occupational training for young adults who are at-risk or lack a family support network, through in-depth personal mentorship and group support, in a way that will ensure their integration into the Israeli economy as equal and productive citizens, who no longer require state support. An initial pilot will run for two years, with the goal of becoming a flagship, long-term program for creating ongoing support mechanisms for young adults who are at-risk or lack a family support network.
The program comprises three stages:
The city’s education and welfare divisions will identify young adult men, enrolled in the 11th grade, who are at-risk or lack a family support network.
Roll out of a preventative educational after-school program, in which the young men take part in several skills training groups, according to their interests and the changing needs of the job market, with a view to their future integration into the Israeli economy. Each group’s coordinator also leads regular social and values activities, and provides one-on-one counseling as needed.
Runs concurrently with Stage One but is uniquely characterized by the fact that it provides ongoing guidance and support for 5-7 years following completion of the training program. A social worker works with the groups in this stage, and leads targeted workshops on financial responsibility, and preparation for military service and discharge. Together with the group coordinators, the social worker will also identify young men without a family support network who require assistance during and after their military service. This will include one-on-one sessions, availability for support over the phone, and group sessions.
Krav Maga Activities
As part of the 12th grade program in Stage One, Partners for the Road held two Krav Maga sessions, an activity which was utilized as a way of starting a conversation about the young men’s upcoming military service, and their concerns and expectations regarding this experience.
Since 2001, Lamerhav leading the field in guidance and support for young adults in Israel who lack a family support network. The organization functions at the highest level professionally and oversees various additional initiatives, all of which focus on preparing the participants for independence, by providing a support network and enabling them to acquire personal and professional skills.
Lamerhav works to bring about comprehensive social change through multidimensional and intensive intervention in the lives of young Israeli adults (ages 17-25), who lack a family support network and come from low socio-economic backgrounds. Utilizing a unique, self-developed methodology, the organization aims to provide these young adults with personalized support, practical guidance, and financial assistance. It offers them an open and accepting environment that can help them succeed in breaking through the academic, professional, and social glass ceilings they face, and ensure their integration as contributing members into Israeli society.
Lamerhav’s Be’er Sheva House, opened in 2012, has so far worked with over 100 Be’er Sheva area youth. It will be the hub of community, group, and personal activity for “Partners for the Road” in southern Israel, as well as act as an emotional support and social center, and provide a welcoming and informal environment in the long-term.
During the 2017-2018 pilot year: provide guidance and support for around 65 young adults who lack a family support network.
Recruit and hire a full-time social worker-coordinator who will work with the young adults through the initial identification and training stages and onward to Stage Two of the program.
2019: support for about 95% of the young adults in Stage One and continuous support during the course of Stage Two.
Training and Preparation
Weekly, personal training sessions with each mentor.
Clinical training sessions led by head of the Prevention and Education Division at the Israel Anti-Drug & Alcohol Authority, held at Lamerhav’s Be’er Sheva House.
Three-day training and orientation course prior to the beginning of the program.
Monthly continuing education for the mentor-coordinators.
Registration, Oversight, Measurement & Evaluation
Evaluation of the program will be conducted via Lamerhav’s CRM system (Salesforce), which allows for oversight and tracking of the progress made by each participant at any point in time, and over the course of the program, as well as for the measurement of performance metrics and research into the programs’ strengths and challenges.